Blog: SECBE Awards 2022 finalist - Health, Safety and Wellbeing Excellence on M4 junctions 3 12 (by Balfour Beatty)

11 April 2022

Health, Safety & Wellbeing sponsored by VolkerWessels UK

Health, Safety and Wellbeing Excellence on M4 junctions 3 – 12 (submitted by Balfour Beatty VINCI)

Health, Safety & Wellbeing Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 finalist

Balfour Beatty VINCI's project has sought out new equipment, technologies, and initiatives during 2021, to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all its workers and members of the public.

  • As part of the project’s Safe to the Finish plan, developed to ensure we embedded a positive health and safety culture across the project in the final stages of the project, Smart Behaviour Rewards were introduced.  These are issued by project leaders when positive behaviours of the workforce are identified on site, reinforcing the visible health and safety leadership and Balfour Beatty VINCI's embedded culture.  Nearly 10,000 observations were submitted on the project in the last year, which equates to a monthly average of 320 hours worked per observation submitted, helping to maintain a strong health and safety culture.  The behavioural safety programme delivered on the project continues to ensure that health, safety and wellbeing are effectively embedded in the culture, with 500 workers sitting or renewing the programme.
  • Mental health and wellbeing are at the forefront of project training and information plan, with 350 personnel trained in the Mates in Mind Start the Conversation training and approximately 200 toolbox talk briefings on mental health.  The project has a continued commitment to information, awareness, and access to resources on mental health, including trained Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) across the project, regular poster/information campaigns and  24/7 Employee Assistance Programme.

4D modelling has been routinely used throughout the year and this collaborative working style saves time during tightly programmed weekend closures of the project, when demolishing or installing bridges and other key works.  Regarding safety, it not only helps to resolve any potential clashes but allows key decision-making to be carried out early enough to ensure everyone involved goes home safe and well.

  • This technology has also proven to be a key asset in how the project trains and informs the teams.  A 3D animated training system using real life examples has been used to engage all levels of the project in health and safety, demonstrating excellence in health and safety training and leaving a legacy from the M4 project to the wider industry and its workers.

A recovery system (VDZ) was invested in, which improves recovery time for stranded vehicles on the motorway, a common occurrence across Highways.  This reduces risk to both recovery workers and road users, as well as reducing the waiting time for recovery of stranded vehicles. 

A new edge protection system has been introduced in the central reservation to help to alleviate the industry-wide problem of protecting excavations in already very narrow areas, providing protection for workers and road users who end up on site. The system provides a continuous barrier which requires less maintenance and can be easily installed and replicated in different locations. 

The project implemented pre-cast drainage units, which reduce risk to people-plant interface, deep excavations and improve productivity.

Key achievements:

  • 350 personnel trained in the Mates in Mind Start the Conversation training and approximately 200 toolbox talk briefings on mental health.

  • 500 personnel have completed the behavioural safety programme.

  • 10,000 safety observations raised in a 12-month period helping to maintain a strong health and safety culture. 


Client: National Highways


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2022 Ceremony on Thurs 30th June 2022.


About the Health, Safety & Wellbeing Award (sponsored by VolkerWessels UK): 

Health, Safety & Wellbeing is of paramount importance and a culture of ‘safety first’ is crucial to performance. Overarching health and safety risk management systems and effective health initiatives are fundamental to reducing or eliminating all types of incidents and promoting health and well–being across the supply chain. More info

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards finalists here

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